Are You Staring at a Blank Piece of Paper?

Getting started is always the most daunting part of any project, whether it be writing a blog or putting together a new marketing strategy. It is human nature to put off doing things that make us feel uncomfortable or something that we perceive as difficult. I know that many of you feel the same way as I do when you are faced with a task that is new or not yet completely comfortable to you. It is easy to keep putting it off, knowing that the task will always be there.

Sometimes I hear myself telling my kids that they need to work on a school project bit by bit and I feel like an incredible hypocrite because I am doing the same thing.

Here are some of the things that I do to unstick myself when I am facing something that doesn’t just flow or is hugely important to do, but not as urgent as the day-to-day fires that I am always putting out. The things that work for me when I am just plain procrastinating and loathing myself for it.

I have a wonderful mentor. He reminds me that I need to do the things that are important so that my business will flourish and grow. I highly recommend that you find someone in your life that will gently prod you to do the things that you know you should – or if you need to, hire a coach to nudge you along. Tell them everything that you are working on and why it is important to you. Ask them to help you be accountable. It is amazing what a little prodding can do.

I have to schedule time to work on whatever the task or project may be. I do this everyday on my calendar. I treat that time just like it is an appointment with a customer. Only a huge emergency would make me cancel an appointment like that. Working on your business is just as important as working in your business as Michael Gerber or Steven Covey would say. Some people are morning people and can set aside time first thing in the morning, I am not a morning person, so I schedule time during the time of day that I am my most creative, early afternoon. Do whatever works for you, but make sure to put it on your calendar and make it a priority. One other hint: If it is a long project or ongoing area of your business, don’t schedule a big block of hours one day a week; instead, schedule a bit of time each day. That way, if you miss one day, you aren’t behind for an entire week. Sometimes, I change my location when I have a task that I have been putting off.

I change from my office to another room in my house, sometimes I actually leave and go to the library or somewhere that I can write or think in peace. I find that by doing this, I am not as tempted to check my email, read others blogs or anything else that I use as an excuse to not get started. If I stay in my office, I will turn off email and my phone, put on classical music and begin.

Respect Others And You Are On Your Way To Embracing Diversity

Say that you have employees and/or customers who speak English as a second language. Can you pronounce their names? Speak some common words or phrases in their native language? If the answer is yes, you are showing signs of embracing diversity.

For leaders, embracing diversity means they must do far more than merely accept the existence of diversity. To make diversity work, they must embrace it, and this starts by modeling good diversity skills, by showing respect and appreciation for the differences among the people they lead, and by helping others accept and value these differences.

Fundamentally, embracing diversity translates into showing respect for others and their differences. Tolerance for uncertainties (haziness) in language, styles and behavior, is at the top of a list created by William Sonnenschein, a diversity expert and author of “The Diversity Toolkit.”

So for the employer who has Latino customers and employees, as an example, it makes a significant difference when he or she is able to pronounce names and common words in Spanish. A friendly “Buenos Dias” makes a nice welcome in the morning as does “Buenos Tardes” in the afternoon and “Buenos Noches” in the evening. Using such phrases and pronouncing them correctly, represents a key step to embracing diversity. Learning a new language is also fun!

Another important key is flexibility. When situations are new, difficult or challenging, do you show flexibility? Do you give your employees and customers added time and assistance for adjusting to change?

Self-awareness represents another point on Sonnenschein’s diversity embracement list. A person must understand his or her own reactions and know what they bring to the diverse workplace. Perhaps you like to wear expensive clothes; how do you feel about the employee who would rather dress comfortably than model your expensive image? What is important to you may not even be on the radar of your employee or customer. The whole world does not enjoy dressing formally – so are you being unfair in your evaluation of others who do not dress exactly like you do?

Empathy is another requirement. Are you capable of feeling what someone who is different from you might be feeling in new or strange surroundings? What about the new employee who comes to the XYZ Company from a country of extreme poverty. Will they truly feel welcome at a large cocktail party after their first day of work? Or overwhelmed? Or even frightened? Can you imagine how you would feel in their shoes?

How would a new mother returning to work after having a baby feel if she did not have an appropriate place to use a breast pump? Sound bizarre? Recently in Iowa, a company refused to allow a woman to use their “special” lactation room because she didn’t fill out a form that required three days notice to use such a facility.

The woman finally had to leave work (and quit) because of the physical pain she was in due to her employer’s insensitivity.

Are you patient? Some cultures (actually most) do not consist of Type A racers, requiring a manager’s adjustment if the working relationship is going to be successful.